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Author Topic: Shooting Weddings?!  (Read 9987 times)
JonathanRimmel
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« on: March 28, 2012, 04:48:33 PM »
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I was asked today if I would shoot a coworker's wedding. Usually I would stay away from such a high stress job, but I cannot help but feel somewhat compelled to do it. Although, I have not yet agreed.

So I am looking for some general advice as well as some specifics such as:

How much and in what way do I charge?
What do I charge for?
What kind of general rules "must" I follow?

I am not really in my comfort zone here, so I am rather at a loss as to all of this. Any help would be more than greatly appreciated.
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pixjohn
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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2012, 06:10:36 PM »
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 coworker? My advice say no.

 Its never worth the money to jeopardize your job, I would never work with family or friends.
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Richowens
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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2012, 06:15:35 PM »
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  DITTO
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k bennett
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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2012, 07:05:39 PM »
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Working at a university, I get these requests all the time, from coworkers whose kids are getting married, to students who are marrying after graduation. Weddings are a highly specialized field, and require experience and a certain kind of personality and temperament. Even as a long time professional photographer, I would feel very uncomfortable shooting a wedding, as it is not my specialty. So I provide these folks with my personal congratulations and a list of great local wedding photographers.

I would never say yes to this sort of request, and *certainly* never do this for money. Bad idea in so many ways, sorry.
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2012, 07:15:26 PM »
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Wedding photography is whole different ballgame to any other genre.

My advice is not to take the gig even if you are interested in wedding photography.

The chances of a serious fallout here if things do not go according to plan are high.

Recommend a good known wedding photographer. Perhaps you may be able work as the assistant if the gut or gal is agreeable.

Regards

Tony Jay
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Rob C
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« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2012, 03:35:45 AM »
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This is all very accurate advice: don't do it.

Rob C
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Bryan Conner
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« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2012, 04:24:39 AM »
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Don't do it for money unless you are: a glutton for stress, interested in ruining a working relationship, interested in possibly creating a need to find a new job etc.  Now, if you can get the ok to shoot for free just for the experience, with no promises of any type, then go for it. 

If you could work out an agreement with a pro wedding Photog to let you second shoot, then that would be a win win.


I also do not do business with close friends or family.  Either I do it for free/as a gift, or I do not do it.  I do not even charge them for prints etc.  I will give them a cd of the images and a recommendation of a good place to purchase prints if they are wanting more than I wish to donate.
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tom b
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« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2012, 04:38:13 AM »
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Just say No!

Cheers,
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k bennett
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« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2012, 06:39:24 AM »
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I also do not do business with close friends or family.  Either I do it for free/as a gift, or I do not do it. 


This is very good advice. As soon as you agree to do something for money - say, shoot a wedding, or a family portrait - you are no longer a friend, you're a vendor. You're no longer doing them a favor, you're overcharging them for your crappy work that plenty of other people will do for less money. Smiley

I'm constantly shooting photos of my friends, or their kids, or my nieces and nephews, and I just email the files. It's fun, keeps my skills sharp, and makes my friends happy.
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john beardsworth
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« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2012, 04:23:55 PM »
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How good are you at handling groups of people? Skills like public speaking or crowd control are as important as knowing how to use your camera. If you don't feel confident with either the people side or the photography, then just offer to take pictures but not as "the photographer". But if you feel you can do both sides, don't rule it out. Just set your colleague's expectations, plan very thoroughly, get someone allocated to help assemble groups (a brother in the military can be ideal), and do it as a friend. Make sure they know how much PP you do, too. They'll know how much to pay you.
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aaronleitz
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« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2012, 05:49:34 PM »
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I'll echo what others have said - think about if this is something that you really want to do and if you decide to go through with it, consider shooting it for free with no expectations. And if you do shoot it for money, charge a decent amount (like $1,500 or more).

I am a full time architectural photographer but I have photographed three weddings for money. Here's what I do:

I set clear expectations via in-person and email conversation beforehand with the client. I have a written agreement that both bride and groom must sign that further outlines all expectations for the event. For example: I do not use flash at any time so images are going to be grainy. I deliver between 60-70 final images on a DVD and that's it. I don't do organized formal wedding party portraits (bride with all the uncles etc) but am fine with impromptu portraits during the event. I don't do prints or albums. I include a good limits of liability paragraph: I am not responsible for missed shots, lost image files, etc etc. And full payment is due before I start shooting.

I think the most important thing is to communicate with your co-worker so that everyone is on the same page regarding their expectations for the event as well as yours.
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kikashi
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« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2012, 02:59:48 AM »
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If you don't feel confident with either the people side or the photography, then just offer to take pictures but not as "the photographer".
That's exactly what I've done in similar situations. It's enabled me to enjoy the wedding and to contribute to the memories without the pressure of thinking all the time of the burden that I'd be carrying if the whole album depended on me.

Jeremy
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JonathanRimmel
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« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2012, 10:02:02 AM »
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Thank you for all the advice everyone.  I am still a bit on the fence, but I am thinking I probably will decline. (I just how to think of how I will word it)
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louoates
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« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2012, 11:41:35 AM »
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My stock reply to such requests:
   "I love you like a brother/sister but asking me to shoot a wedding is like asking me to gargle with razor blades."
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k bennett
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« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2012, 01:59:51 PM »
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"Wedding photography is a highly specialized field, and I'm not comfortable shooting such an important occasion without the relevant experience."

Repeat as necessary, no further explanation needed.

Really, this is like asking your brother in law the tax attorney to defend you in court on a death penalty homicide case.
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john beardsworth
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« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2012, 02:27:41 PM »
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I feel that last analogy verges on the ridiculous. There are of course specialists who are particularly skilled, but I bet many of us have also attended events where "the professional photographer" has been short on interpersonal skills or turned in technically-deficient or cliche-ridden pictures. But on the whole it's not too specialist. If you are good with groups of people, calm and organized, and know what you're doing with a camera, then you can do a fine job. No doubt plenty of us non-specialists have successfully shot weddings. But if you don't feel 100% about it, then enjoy the event instead, be a guest and take some pictures without any responsibility.
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k bennett
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« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2012, 08:20:26 PM »
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I feel that last analogy verges on the ridiculous.

Um, you've maybe heard of argumentum ad absurdum? No? Well, there it is.

Yes, any competent photographer should be able to shoot a wedding and get decent photos. I've shot several, and got decent photos. Maybe even good photos. That's a far cry from agreeing to shoot a wedding for a coworker for money being a good idea. It's truly not -- even for an experienced wedding shooter, in my personal opinion.
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Les Sparks
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« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2012, 08:52:07 PM »
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If you still are considering doing the wedding, I suggest you check out the wedding sub forum at dgrinhttp://www.dgrin.com/forumdisplay.php?f=49.

Les
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Colorado David
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« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2012, 01:18:27 AM »
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I've always heard that everyone hates their wedding photographer and their divorce lawyer.  I had a colleague once describe something as being "as dangerous as shooting a wedding."
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Rob C
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« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2012, 04:11:04 AM »
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Look on the bright side: book the divorce shoot too, and make it a double-whammy. Your accountant will love you, as will the tax inspector; what can you lose, other than your neck?

Rob C
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